Monday 20 May 2019

Trump to raise case of missing writer Jamal Khashoggi with Saudi king

Turkey’s government has reportedly told US officials it has audio and video proof he was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A journalist holds a poster of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)
A journalist holds a poster of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

By Ayse Wieting, Suzan Fraser and Jon Gambrell

US President Donald Trump has said he will speak to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman about the disappearance of Saudi writer  and US resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, went missing more than a week ago after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Turkey’s government has reportedly told US officials it has audio and video proof that he was killed and dismembered at the consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The Washington Post, for which Mr Khashoggi is a columnist, cited anonymous officials as saying the recordings show a Saudi security team detained the writer when he went to the consulate on October 2 to pick up a document for his forthcoming wedding.

A delegation from Saudi Arabia has now arrived in Turkey as part of an investigation into his disappearance, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu said.

Saudi Arabia has called the allegation it abducted or harmed Mr Khashoggi “baseless”.

However, it has offered no evidence to support its claim he left the consulate and vanished despite his fiance waiting outside.

Turkish officials have said they believe he was murdered there.

Protesters at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Donald Trump has called it a “serious situation” and pledged that the US government would find out what happened to Mr Khashoggi.

US officials say they are seeking answers from the Saudi government, and are not yet accepting the Turkish government’s conclusions.

Meanwhile Morocco’s justice minister has confirmed that the country handed the former head of security to the Saudi royal family back to Saudi Arabia in 2015 on the basis of an Interpol notice. He reportedly disappeared days later.

The confirmation from Mohammed Aujjar came in response to the reports of Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

A security guard looks out of the entrance of Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul (Petros Giannakouris/AP)

Aujjar said Turki bin Bandar, who fell out with the Saudi royal family and fled to Paris in 2012, was arrested in Morocco on November 11, 2015 under an international warrant issued by Saudi Arabia “for disturbances of public order via internet and for committing financial crimes” and extradited to Saudi Arabia five days later.

The Washington Post reported that Turki disappeared in 2015.

On Thursday, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey and Saudi Arabia would form a “joint working group” to look into Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The 59-year-old journalist, who was considered close to the Saudi royal family, had become a critic of the current government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 33-year-old heir apparent who has introduced reforms but shown little tolerance for criticism.

Mr Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year.

Press Association

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